Posts Tagged ‘Uefa’

The 32 teams qualified for the group stage of the 2014-15 UEFA Champions League placed in eight groups :

Group draw

Bayern and Man City, Dortmund and Arsenal, Chelsea and Schalke find themselves in similar group as they were last season.Arsenal & Manchester City find themselves again in a tricky group.Hard to choose whether Group D or E is the group of death. These eight groups will certainly provide exciting matches.Time to gear up for Football crazy season.

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PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN V CHELSEA

PSG vs Chelsea is really going to be intriguing with all the others having clear favorites but this one can go either way.Certainly the most open quarter final tie this season in my opinion .

MANCHESTER UNITED V BAYERN MUNICH

Manchester United have a tough test in Bayern Munich. With Van Persie out for six weeks with knee injury its nothing less than a nightmare. But they only need to remember how Liverpool FC (2005) and Chelsea FC (2012) stole the Champions league after difficult Premier League campaigns.

BARCELONA V ATLETICO MADRID

An all-Spanish clash between Barcelona and Atlético de Madrid , first time in the history of champions league. They didn’t beat each other in any of the 3 matches between them this season. Perfect recipe for an El Classico level bonanza .

REAL MADRID V BORUSSIA DORTMUND

This game might already be all settled with Robert Lewandowski suspended for the first leg and Cristiano Ronaldo and Bale operating in full capacity.

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2013/14 UEFA Champions Legue : Round of 16 draws

The match-ups for the 2013/14 UEFA Champions League round of 16.

 

The group stage draws for the UEFA Champions League 2013/14 commencing on September 16, came out on Thursday at the draw event held in Monaco. Not disappointing  the Football world the draw presented few tough groups.

Group F can easily be tagged as ‘Group of death’ comprising of Borussia Dortmund (last year’s finalist) Arsenal, Marseille and Napoli. Group H is another tough group in the form of  Barcelona, Ajax, AC Milan and Celtics FC comprising the group.

Chelsea FC have been drawn with Schalke, FC Basel and Steaua Bucharest in Group E. Familiar names FC Basel and Steaua Bucharest were both beaten en route to Amsterdam in last season’s Europa League. Manchester United faces a competitive group whereas the last English team Manchester City face tough competition from European champions Bayerm Munich and CSKA Moscow.

Complete Fixture list:

Group A                                                                       Group B
Manchester United                                                      Real Madrid
Shakhtar Donetsk                                                        Juventus
Bayer Leverkusen                                                       Galatasaray
Real Sociedad                                                             FC Copenhagen



Group C                                                                            Group D
Benfica                                                                            Bayern Munich
Paris St-Germain                                                         CSKA Moscow
Olympiacos                                                                  Manchester City
Anderlecht                                                                   Viktoria Plzen

Group E                                                                           Group F
CHELSEA                                                                        Arsenal
Schalke                                                                         Marseille
FC Basel                                                                       Borussia Dortmund
Steaua Bucharest                                                         Napoli



Group G                                                                          Group H
Porto                                                                                Barcelona
Atletico Madrid                                                              AC Milan
Zenit St Petersburg                                                       Ajax
Austria Vienna                                                                Celtic

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They carved through the two favorites of Spain. They made pundits look like fools who had it all planned out an El Classico Champions league final with the two greatest and most followed sides in the world going head to head, and the two most extraordinary players going toe to toe; taking the Spanish rivalry to a much higher level that of European stage.

                                                          Presenting the final contenders: Chelsea & Bayern Munich

They had different plans for their Semifinal opponents Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively. They surprised and reminded the whole football fraternity about the love for the game;{It’s not the best team that always wins}.The two Spanish giants looked invincible at least on paper with two top goal scorers this season playing for them and even after their 1st leg deficits, the odds were still very much in favor of the Spaniards to make it through to the final.

FC Bayern Munich have achieved their dream of reaching the 2012 UEFA Champions League final on home soil, against Chelsea FC, after ousting Real Madrid CF on penalties following 210 minutes of an enthralling semi-final. While at Bernabeu ten-man Chelsea pulled off an extraordinary display of defensive play to reach the 2012 UEFA Champions League final. A match full of action, Chelsea having had their 1-0 first-leg lead wiped out by Sergio Busquets and captain John Terry sent off, Ramires to return Chelsea to the front seat before half-time. With two Lionel Messi’s woodwork hit and in the second period Torres confirming the progress with a sublime cool finish passed Valdes.

This season’s UEFA Champions League has been full of surprises. It won’t come anything less than surprises with the two teams set to face each other in the Final on the 19th of May are Chelsea and Bayern Munich. Chelsea have turned what was looking like a pretty miserable season into right around with FA cup silverware beating Liverpool at wembley on May 5 and stand on the brink of finally tasting European glory. While Bayern Munich failed to get a hold on Bundesliga yet again mounting to a huge desire of making this well fought season of some worth with Champions league title in their bag.

Bayern Munich’s home, the Allianz Arena in Munich, will play host to this seasons UEFA Champions League Final. Playing in their backyard, the Germans will be slight favorites and will be able to field their strongest team. Chelsea will lose four pillars players, including captain John Terry who had a red card sanction. But the Blues can count on a super fantastic Didier Drogba, on top of his game in recent weeks and a team looking to secure their first ever champions league trophy.

Last time these two teams met each other was in 2004/05 UEFA Champions League quarter-finals, where Chelsea bloomed 6-5 on aggregate to reach the semi-finals but they lost to Liverpool FC. In the first leg, Chelsea won 4-2 and Bayern won 3-2 in the second leg. Bastian Schweinsteiger, Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba, Petr Cech and John Terry are the only survivors in the current squad, all five contributing in both legs.

This year’s final On the 19th of May the two teams will walk down the red carpet and come up from under the stands leading to the Allianz Arena in Munich. Betting it to be more appealing than a el Classico, full of sparks and glory. The night will witness a special final represented by the Bundesliga and the English Premiership having a proven stamp of worlds’ best competitions of all.

                         A  Sneak Peak:UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL DESTINATION– ALLIANZ ARENA MUNICH

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Just to Put things in perspective –Not been contravened this time, Chelsea are in the final of the UEFA Champions League 2012. Blues survived John Terry’s red card and many such heart breaking moments to seal a truly remarkable victory over Barcelona.

At the final blow of the whistle at Camp Nou , 95000 football crazy fans in the stadium and billions around the globe witnessed Chelsea eliminating Barcelona and making their way into Final on May 19th after almost 4 years. Last time Chelsea marched to the Champions League final under the guidance of caretaker manager Avram Grant in 2008. Last night, it was a combination of guts, determination and spirit which aided Chelsea overcome the maze comprising the brilliance of Barcelona, referee, ghost goal, penalty shoot and woodwork. This time, there were no complaints, no conspiracy theories.

The Blues were in serious trouble after goals from Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta put Barcelona ahead either side of Terry’s red card for violent conduct and Cahill lost to injury .It was a one way traffic similar to the 1st leg (78%-22%), but Ramires chipped one over valdes to get away side back in the game. There were heroes in white Imageeverywhere, with Frank Lampard and Branislav Ivanovic throwing their bodies in the way of everything. Ashley Cole eclipsed Daniel Alves while Ramires, Raul Merieles and Lampard stifled Barcelona in midfield.

Early in the second half Barcelona were given the chance to take hold of the tie again when Didier Drogba tripped Cesc Fabregas in the box. Spot kick to be taken by the one who has scored 14 goals in the Champions League this season – one more would have given him the record for a single campaign – but he beamed his spot-kick against the bar. A let-off for Blues which they didn’t failed to capitalize upon. Chelsea’s rearguard action in the remainder of the second half was stupefying. They were compact, disciplined. They sat on the edge of their box, restraining themselves from chasing the ball.

Barcelona had their chances, with Cuenca’s effort saved by Cech and Messi striking the post from 22 yards, but the Blues held on to their luck and defense. Somehow they rose to find hope, and with it, power and effectiveness to turn a lost match around. In the dying minutes of the classic encounter Torres provided the perfect finish for his team scoring a one on one proving his 50 million pound worth at a critical stage of the league.

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For the final showdown in Munich on 19th May, Chelsea must work out how to win a Champions League final against either the team of Chelsea’s former boss Jose Mourinho or the side whose home ground hosts the final, without suspended quartet Terry, Ramires, Meireles and Ivanovic. Chelsea would be hoping of Cahill and David Luiz overcoming hamstring injuries to have some sort of recognized centre back pairing.

Bottom-line is, nothing can be taken away from English club who beat Barcelona on their own home ground, with 10 men and without their centre backs on the field. They might have played ugly but they won. The final on 19th may in Munich will surely transpire into a BoomBox , expect nothing less than a perfect showdown sparkle.

Yes its true,Barcelona are playing in their fifth consecutive Champions League semi-final, the longest run in the history of the competition.Barcelona travel to London to face Chelsea this Wednesday evening in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final matchup on the same hallowed ground which played host to what has become a defining moment for both clubs.

Barcelona and Chelsea have each reached the semi-final stage of the Champions League six times in the last nine seasons (since 2003/04), the best tallies over that period.Chelsea have earned a much deserved semi final spot in a hard way whereas it has been a nothing less than a cake walk for catalan giants.

It’s been three years since Barca has last met Chelsea in the Champions League.Chelsea usually keeps it narrow at the back in Stamford Bridge and the attacking startegy mostly involve a big centre forward, in this case Drogba winning aerial balls and releasing wide players.the biggest advantage for Barca is the fact that the second leg is going to be held at Camp Nou, a very wide pitch compared to Stamford Bridge.

Prediction for this nothing less than a classic would be a shot in the dark.Barcelona enter the match with the tide of past accomplishment rushing out before them, blustering the services of arguably the best player in the history of the game, and motivated by recent memories. Chelsea also find themselves motivated by these same memories, albeit in quite a different light with a 1-5 win over Tottenhum Hotspur in FA cup semis.As a true Chelsea fan supported by some previous facts ,I won’t be surprised by blues winning by a 2-0 margin.

FC Barcelona Lineup (Predicted): Valdés, Dani Alves, Puyol, Piqué, Adriano, Busquets, Xavi, Fàbregas, Iniesta, Messi, Alexis Sánchez

Chelsea FC Lineup (Predicted): Peter Cech, Ashley Cole, John Terry, Branislav Ivanovic, Jose Bosingwa, Frank Lampard, Raul Meireles, Ramires, Juan Mata, Salomon Kalou, Dider Drogba

Be it the tactically doctored Serie A, combinative ability and  shear nidus of the bundesliga and great possession of flamboyance by the La Liga, but it is the intense rage and furiousness characterized by the English Premier League that makes it the ‘Best league in the world’ .

EPL has a style of football where the stride is galvanic and the teams go at it like ‘ghost and hell dust’. Apart from illustrating a excellent example of football, it is also a mountain money producing beast attracting billion of viewers and companies around the four corners of the world. The revenue derived from the EPL is the highest in any football league only to be surpassed by the NFL, NBA, and MLB. Any team hence the league as a whole as three sources of revenue, merchandise, match day tickets. It has been a criticism that the more money the worse it will get. That simply is not true. In fact the reverse has been the case. There won’t be a single football spectator anywhere who hasn’t watched a minute of an EPL match.

It is pretty hard to call any league competitive where one or two teams can rake in excess of 90 points. The almost certainty of the score line, total points dropped, huge goal margins by some clubs and the outrageous score line between the top teams in the various leagues doesn’t indicate any form of competition.

And then we have EPL where every single goal changes the status of the match, which is a remarkable episode of action.

EPL often introduced as ‘the greatest show in the world’, it is broadcasted to over 600 million viewers worldwide across 211countries much more than any league. The media tending the premiership receives is unbelievable. The media have a bent for blowing things out of proportion, twist any issue and exaggerate its implication even though with a bad taste which has been a key ingredient in the success of the EPL.

A major factor in the success of a league has been in terms of European performance in last couple of decades. Taking into consideration UEFA club coefficient , according to which Manchester United ,Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal in top 6 over the last decade. Association coefficient designed by Uefa serves the purpose of establishing which leagues representative to European competitions has been better on a collective level and also the club coefficient which aims to ascertain the best club side in European competitions. It is here where premier league wins in terms of intensity and rhythm.

There really isn’t any ultimate answer and neither should there be ‘The Best League’, but if there is one that comes close then it should without a doubt be the English Premier League.